Trick or Treat?

Happy end of October everyone! Yes, it’s almost time for that holiday, Halloween. With that particular holiday comes the ever popular, trick or treat metaphor.

So, how is your website doing this Halloween?

Got Trick?

A brief look at your site factors - is your site a trick or a treat? find out some common things that can be used to gauge your site!

A brief look at your site factors – is your site a trick or a treat? find out some common things that can be used to gauge your site!

What I will call a trick/weak website, is one where it’s not ranking where you need to be and often for fairly predictable reasons.  It is not “solid.”  What do we mean by solid?  We mean when you search for it, there are no traces of the company any OTHER place besides that website.  No links from reputable places, local organizations, no Facebook business page, no twitter account, no other references, etc. Usually very few incoming links period. It’s usually lacking in reviews on any sites – except maybe some directly on the site itself – which may or may NOT be a little suspect.  It usually is not going to rank that broadly or well.

Your bad content

Content can often be thin – like 100 or 200 words. Something that we have to chuckle about and I’ve mentioned here before… If you’ve had a “web designer” or “web developer” do your site and not someone with an eye on SEO, review your content.  We’ve gotten websites before that have been straight lifted from OTHER websites.  Sometimes this is NOT a complete death sentence. We did do one site for a franchise in which the doctor insisted that content should be pulled directly from the parent site. We did add in some unique content, but it was composed of at least 80% straight copy from the parent site.  It miraculously seems to stay at the top of the SERPs. We’ll come back to this below.

Your bad links

You usually WILL need links to rank. Unless you happen to be in a town of less than 10 competitors for your key phrases, then you probably WILL need to have links pointing to your site to help you rank up higher and on the front page.  Basing it solely on the number of incoming links is a mistake to watch out for though too.   Not all links are created the same.  We’ve seen MANY sites LOADED with incoming links – that struggle to rank in the top 1000.

Where your links originate matters!

Raleigh website reviews and seo recommendationsIf you are the proud owner of a auto repair shop, where WILL you get links?  We are talking about links that are pointing TO your site – not pointing out.  While having some general outgoing links to other sites can show affiliations or to help “frame” your business, they generally will do nothing to increase domain authority or trust as far as the search engines see it.  We want INCOMING links!  So, on your “trick” site,  you have your best buddy’s gym linking to you; you have a link from your local bar, and then top that off with a link from a guy hawking the latest MLM diet fad product that you met at a mixer in Chicago when you were on some sort of weekend shindig  – you’re setting a whole DIFFERENT type of profile.  This kind of profile has NOTHING to do with vehicles and is NOT going to be the best bet to rank you well.

Due to some of these links, you may even find your site getting in hot water with Google and in extreme cases, deindexed.

“Deindexed? what is this ‘deindexed’ of which you speak?” Deindexing most often occurs where there is an egregious flaunting of the rules as they have been laid forth by the supreme masters of the universe, Google.  If you’re a local service business and you seem to have accumulated about 100K backlinks in a month in a town of 1000 – how DOES something like that even HAPPEN?? It’s just outside the realm of believably occurring naturally – and that’s where the problem lies.  See more at “Exceptions to the rules” below…

And now, let’s look at the Treat side of things…

Got Treat?

The treat site – what really DOES comprise a strong site?

Pages should be carrying at least 500 unique words on each page.  Recent studies DO indicate the more the merrier.  Top ranking sites across many searches were reviewed and 1500 words of unique content is NOT a bad thing.  MOST of the top ranking sites were content rich and had given the search engines something to work with – like 1500 words of awesome content. Or at least passable content. SOMETHING that Google can get into!

The Time on Site Angle

As well, having some nice “time on site” boosting things like images, videos, and polls is also a step in the right direction.  Did we mention that embedding videos from your OWN YouTube channel is a plus?  Right off the bat, if you upload them to your own channel, you are creating a footprint for Google to review.  If you have branded images and not just some raw stock photos, you’re adding more and more to that profile.

You may have a nifty poll on your site about something related. Your poll may be even to get more information about a relevant topic that may help you focus your site content better <lightbulb ON>.  Getting a customer to spend a few seconds on a poll will not only increase time on site, which is a plus to Google, but also more actively engages the customer in your site. The more engagement they have, they more likely it is they will end up buying a product or service from you they have in your site.

Your Overall Profile – as Google sees

Have you built out your Twitter account?  You don’t need to be a tweet monster, but you should have an account there and use it with SOME occasion at least.  Ditto on the Facebook business page.  Do you have a link from Yelp?  Do you have your Google MyBusiness page claimed and setup? How about Bing?

Why do you need all of these things?

“I’ve got a website, isn’t that ALL I NEED???”  On a real basic level, yes, that is the basic piece that you need, but…  All of these things are helping to create a profile for the search engines that indicate yes, you ARE here to stay. These little nuances indicate that you are legitimate. Google can trust that your business is real and not some fly-by-night website only. Sort of like “putting down roots” when you move to a new town. If you don’t engage with the new neighbors, you keep your old phone number from out of state, spend all of your time talking about “home” (the last place you lived), etc, you are sending signals that you’re not really a new resident, but may be more of a visitor or traveler passing through for a spell.  Search engines are far more inclined to smile on sites with a verified and documented footprint.

Put down your roots!

Things like multiple credible backlinks referring to your site. Trade organizations, area Chambers of Commerce, Better Business Bureua links, Yelp listings, etc. are all fine indications that you and your business are here to stay.

If you’re setting  up your own site, did you think about where you can list your site? Business affiliation sites like professional trade groups are a great way to show and really set in stone what your site is all about. Google does understand relationships.

Where SHOULD a good site get links?

Let’s go back to our auto repair shop example.  IF you have links from a bunch of OTHER auto shops coming into your site and you link OUT to a few similar sites, it would only stand to reason that the site IS vehicle-oriented.  The auto links in though COULD be not just repair shops, but vehicle dealerships, used car lots, body shops, towing places, car parts stores, engine repair shops, transmission shops, etc.  IF it is vehicle oriented, it will fit.

Exceptions to the Rule

If you’ve floated around this world very long, you likely understand that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule. When it comes to the Google ranking algorithms, there are always going to be sites that do exactly what we do NOT expect.

Ranking great with mostly copied content from another website as mentioned above – We predicted it would fail miserably and were up in arms.  It went to #1 and has stayed there now for about 3 years.

The website that has almost no real content – just ridiculous numbers of the keywords over and over again. Against all logic, the site seems to stick at the top of the heap for target keywords.  Our content follows the Google “write for the reader, not the bots” suggestions and is maybe 1.5% up to 4% for local sites. Anything with a 15%+ keyword density, in almost all other cases, usually gets slapped down with a Panda penalty.  This site completely flaunts the rules and does a “nanny, nanny, boo, boo” at you from the top of the SERPs.  How CAN this be??

The oddball little site for a little company in the middle of nowhere that has 100,000 backlinks – and ranks well. If it was a cat video on the page, we could understand it, but… The links are even coming in from horrible, horrible places like pharma and gambling sites – heck we think some of those actually are PHARMA GAMBLING sites – “I’ll raise you two vicodins and an oxycodone…” – and yet it ranks well. HOW??

Google algorithms are just that – mathematical models based on lots of data. If your site falls too far outside the norms, bad things can happen. Some of these things do just completely amaze us. What we have outlined above in the Trick or treat scenarios are general, best practices recommendations. That doesn’t mean that exceptions, like those above, don’t exist.

Trick or Treat?

Happy end of October everyone! Yes, it’s almost time for that holiday, Halloween. With that particular holiday comes the ever popular, trick or treat metaphor.

So, how is your website doing this Halloween?

Got Trick?

A brief look at your site factors - is your site a trick or a treat? find out some common things that can be used to gauge your site!

A brief look at your site factors – is your site a trick or a treat? find out some common things that can be used to gauge your site!

What I will call a trick/weak website, is one where it’s not ranking where you need to be and often for fairly predictable reasons.  It is not “solid.”  What do we mean by solid?  We mean when you search for it, there are no traces of the company any OTHER place besides that website.  No links from reputable places, local organizations, no Facebook business page, no twitter account, no other references, etc. Usually very few incoming links period. It’s usually lacking in reviews on any sites – except maybe some directly on the site itself – which may or may NOT be a little suspect.  It usually is not going to rank that broadly or well.

Your bad content

Content can often be thin – like 100 or 200 words. Something that we have to chuckle about and I’ve mentioned here before… If you’ve had a “web designer” or “web developer” do your site and not someone with an eye on SEO, review your content.  We’ve gotten websites before that have been straight lifted from OTHER websites.  Sometimes this is NOT a complete death sentence. We did do one site for a franchise in which the doctor insisted that content should be pulled directly from the parent site. We did add in some unique content, but it was composed of at least 80% straight copy from the parent site.  It miraculously seems to stay at the top of the SERPs. We’ll come back to this below.

Your bad links

You usually WILL need links to rank. Unless you happen to be in a town of less than 10 competitors for your key phrases, then you probably WILL need to have links pointing to your site to help you rank up higher and on the front page.  Basing it solely on the number of incoming links is a mistake to watch out for though too.   Not all links are created the same.  We’ve seen MANY sites LOADED with incoming links – that struggle to rank in the top 1000.

Where your links originate matters!

Raleigh website reviews and seo recommendationsIf you are the proud owner of a auto repair shop, where WILL you get links?  We are talking about links that are pointing TO your site – not pointing out.  While having some general outgoing links to other sites can show affiliations or to help “frame” your business, they generally will do nothing to increase domain authority or trust as far as the search engines see it.  We want INCOMING links!  So, on your “trick” site,  you have your best buddy’s gym linking to you; you have a link from your local bar, and then top that off with a link from a guy hawking the latest MLM diet fad product that you met at a mixer in Chicago when you were on some sort of weekend shindig  – you’re setting a whole DIFFERENT type of profile.  This kind of profile has NOTHING to do with vehicles and is NOT going to be the best bet to rank you well.

Due to some of these links, you may even find your site getting in hot water with Google and in extreme cases, deindexed.

“Deindexed? what is this ‘deindexed’ of which you speak?” Deindexing most often occurs where there is an egregious flaunting of the rules as they have been laid forth by the supreme masters of the universe, Google.  If you’re a local service business and you seem to have accumulated about 100K backlinks in a month in a town of 1000 – how DOES something like that even HAPPEN?? It’s just outside the realm of believably occurring naturally – and that’s where the problem lies.  See more at “Exceptions to the rules” below…

And now, let’s look at the Treat side of things…

Got Treat?

The treat site – what really DOES comprise a strong site?

Pages should be carrying at least 500 unique words on each page.  Recent studies DO indicate the more the merrier.  Top ranking sites across many searches were reviewed and 1500 words of unique content is NOT a bad thing.  MOST of the top ranking sites were content rich and had given the search engines something to work with – like 1500 words of awesome content. Or at least passable content. SOMETHING that Google can get into!

The Time on Site Angle

As well, having some nice “time on site” boosting things like images, videos, and polls is also a step in the right direction.  Did we mention that embedding videos from your OWN YouTube channel is a plus?  Right off the bat, if you upload them to your own channel, you are creating a footprint for Google to review.  If you have branded images and not just some raw stock photos, you’re adding more and more to that profile.

You may have a nifty poll on your site about something related. Your poll may be even to get more information about a relevant topic that may help you focus your site content better <lightbulb ON>.  Getting a customer to spend a few seconds on a poll will not only increase time on site, which is a plus to Google, but also more actively engages the customer in your site. The more engagement they have, they more likely it is they will end up buying a product or service from you they have in your site.

Your Overall Profile – as Google sees

Have you built out your Twitter account?  You don’t need to be a tweet monster, but you should have an account there and use it with SOME occasion at least.  Ditto on the Facebook business page.  Do you have a link from Yelp?  Do you have your Google MyBusiness page claimed and setup? How about Bing?

Why do you need all of these things?

“I’ve got a website, isn’t that ALL I NEED???”  On a real basic level, yes, that is the basic piece that you need, but…  All of these things are helping to create a profile for the search engines that indicate yes, you ARE here to stay. These little nuances indicate that you are legitimate. Google can trust that your business is real and not some fly-by-night website only. Sort of like “putting down roots” when you move to a new town. If you don’t engage with the new neighbors, you keep your old phone number from out of state, spend all of your time talking about “home” (the last place you lived), etc, you are sending signals that you’re not really a new resident, but may be more of a visitor or traveler passing through for a spell.  Search engines are far more inclined to smile on sites with a verified and documented footprint.

Put down your roots!

Things like multiple credible backlinks referring to your site. Trade organizations, area Chambers of Commerce, Better Business Bureua links, Yelp listings, etc. are all fine indications that you and your business are here to stay.

If you’re setting  up your own site, did you think about where you can list your site? Business affiliation sites like professional trade groups are a great way to show and really set in stone what your site is all about. Google does understand relationships.

Where SHOULD a good site get links?

Let’s go back to our auto repair shop example.  IF you have links from a bunch of OTHER auto shops coming into your site and you link OUT to a few similar sites, it would only stand to reason that the site IS vehicle-oriented.  The auto links in though COULD be not just repair shops, but vehicle dealerships, used car lots, body shops, towing places, car parts stores, engine repair shops, transmission shops, etc.  IF it is vehicle oriented, it will fit.

Exceptions to the Rule

If you’ve floated around this world very long, you likely understand that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule. When it comes to the Google ranking algorithms, there are always going to be sites that do exactly what we do NOT expect.

Ranking great with mostly copied content from another website as mentioned above – We predicted it would fail miserably and were up in arms.  It went to #1 and has stayed there now for about 3 years.

The website that has almost no real content – just ridiculous numbers of the keywords over and over again. Against all logic, the site seems to stick at the top of the heap for target keywords.  Our content follows the Google “write for the reader, not the bots” suggestions and is maybe 1.5% up to 4% for local sites. Anything with a 15%+ keyword density, in almost all other cases, usually gets slapped down with a Panda penalty.  This site completely flaunts the rules and does a “nanny, nanny, boo, boo” at you from the top of the SERPs.  How CAN this be??

The oddball little site for a little company in the middle of nowhere that has 100,000 backlinks – and ranks well. If it was a cat video on the page, we could understand it, but… The links are even coming in from horrible, horrible places like pharma and gambling sites – heck we think some of those actually are PHARMA GAMBLING sites – “I’ll raise you two vicodins and an oxycodone…” – and yet it ranks well. HOW??

Google algorithms are just that – mathematical models based on lots of data. If your site falls too far outside the norms, bad things can happen. Some of these things do just completely amaze us. What we have outlined above in the Trick or treat scenarios are general, best practices recommendations. That doesn’t mean that exceptions, like those above, don’t exist.

Handy Lead Generation Techniques

Doing good business means that you are effectively connecting to those potential customers who are interested in making purchases. Good leads increase your customer base. It is more than just leads – it has to be people who will be converted into customers.

When pursuing online advertising, use landing pages to your advantage. General pages aren’t nearly as effective as targeted landing pages. This is the most effective way to keep them at your site. If you provide a contact form as well, then you’re getting somewhere with lead generation.

Use tested methods and reviews to create more leads. Consumers will be more likely to give you some information or to buy your products when they’re given data that’s supportive. Use studies that show the positives of your product and get testimonials from current customers.

Establishing yourself as a trustworthy individual will help you in generating quality leads. Don’t use ads that are too ridiculous. You need to instead provide offers concerning what your potential customers value. If you are honest and forthright, people are more likely to trust you.

Check that you are getting original leads in your campaigns. Duplicated leads are not good for your bottom line. You can easily encounter leads showing up well more than once. Target original leads so you don’t spam them.

All products need to have ease of purchase. Make certain your site is easy to navigate. Ensure that all buttons are working properly. Let the buying process be as smooth as possible.

Your website isn’t going to bring in many leads unless it’s paired with social media sites. From Twitter to Facebook and all of the ones in between, they can help you find new leads. Make certain you use various campaigns, keeping an eye on what works and what fails.

Direct mail is still effective. Because so many marketers have shifted to cheaper online marketing methods, direct mail is being neglected by large numbers. This can give you an advantage, considering that you now have less competition with direct mail marketing. Test out this kind of mail and see if you can generate leads.

Blogs can still be used as an effective tool when it comes to generating subscriptions. This is how we start to build relationships that are the foundation of lead generation. Getting them to subscribe means they’ll check back often. This is a great way to develop more leads. Blogging is a great way to produce leads through numerous new streams.

Getting quality leads should not be a painstaking process if you have the right techniques and strategies. Get started right away since wasting time can cost your business. For professional SEO services in Raleigh NC, contact us!

Handy Lead Generation Techniques

Doing good business means that you are effectively connecting to those potential customers who are interested in making purchases. Good leads increase your customer base. It is more than just leads – it has to be people who will be converted into customers.

When pursuing online advertising, use landing pages to your advantage. General pages aren’t nearly as effective as targeted landing pages. This is the most effective way to keep them at your site. If you provide a contact form as well, then you’re getting somewhere with lead generation.

Use tested methods and reviews to create more leads. Consumers will be more likely to give you some information or to buy your products when they’re given data that’s supportive. Use studies that show the positives of your product and get testimonials from current customers.

Establishing yourself as a trustworthy individual will help you in generating quality leads. Don’t use ads that are too ridiculous. You need to instead provide offers concerning what your potential customers value. If you are honest and forthright, people are more likely to trust you.

Check that you are getting original leads in your campaigns. Duplicated leads are not good for your bottom line. You can easily encounter leads showing up well more than once. Target original leads so you don’t spam them.

All products need to have ease of purchase. Make certain your site is easy to navigate. Ensure that all buttons are working properly. Let the buying process be as smooth as possible.

Your website isn’t going to bring in many leads unless it’s paired with social media sites. From Twitter to Facebook and all of the ones in between, they can help you find new leads. Make certain you use various campaigns, keeping an eye on what works and what fails.

Direct mail is still effective. Because so many marketers have shifted to cheaper online marketing methods, direct mail is being neglected by large numbers. This can give you an advantage, considering that you now have less competition with direct mail marketing. Test out this kind of mail and see if you can generate leads.

Blogs can still be used as an effective tool when it comes to generating subscriptions. This is how we start to build relationships that are the foundation of lead generation. Getting them to subscribe means they’ll check back often. This is a great way to develop more leads. Blogging is a great way to produce leads through numerous new streams.

Getting quality leads should not be a painstaking process if you have the right techniques and strategies. Get started right away since wasting time can cost your business. For professional SEO services in Raleigh NC, contact us!

Taking Advantage of Local SEO for Your Business

Local SEO is gaining ground and becoming more popular because marketing based on geography is catching up. So how can you achieve great results to ensure your business ranks highly in the SERPs for the keyword of your choice?

When you are optimizing your site for a certain location, you must make sure that you are looking beyond the basic keywords. This allows you to be closer to local internet users because you are more relevant and also reduces your competition quite a bit. Your best bet is to use long tail keyword phrases because when they use them people usually are quite clear on what they are looking for. People are usually using these phrases in their searches which often means that they might generate the results you looking for because they want to take some action.

Try to avoid thinking that no one will read your profile because that isn’t true, and you should put a little thought into what you say on your profile – you know the thing about “first impressions.” Pictures tell a lot that words cannot, so be sure to use good photos that are positive. Avoid photos that are fuzzy, or distance shots of you – people want to see you up close. It’s up to you as to whether or not you hire a photographer to take some photos. You just need to ensure that they are decent enough. You know what appeals to people: trust, reliable, professional, etc.

Make sure to add a local phone number to your site. Make sure you’re mentioning your number in text because the search engines can’t read it then. To prove you are a real business, you need to have a real number on your site, meaning that you shouldn’t even think of 800 numbers.

The content of your site needs to be optimized and targeted towards the area you need to rank for. This will allow you to catch local users eyes while also attracting the search engines. Therefore, you need to write on issues that are related to the area you are targeting and are important to the people. You should write on subjects that are relevant to them in more than one way. If you think outside the box, it will make things easier because you want to establish a connection at a local level and you can only do this if your content is related to their interests.

Take care in all you do when promoting your business online because it will be the obscure aspects that you didn’t think about that often can make a difference. Whether you do these tasks yourself or outsource them, always keep a close eye on what’s going on with your site and business. You may know this, but we’ll mention it anyway – you can help with your exposure by getting involved in your local community in some way.

Generally speaking, local SEO has a bright future and will simply grow substantially. You need to make sure you are using it to its fullest potential today. Don’t get left behind! Get in touch with Triangle ranking experts if you have a local business in Raleigh.

Taking Advantage of Local SEO for Your Business

Local SEO is gaining ground and becoming more popular because marketing based on geography is catching up. So how can you achieve great results to ensure your business ranks highly in the SERPs for the keyword of your choice?

When you are optimizing your site for a certain location, you must make sure that you are looking beyond the basic keywords. This allows you to be closer to local internet users because you are more relevant and also reduces your competition quite a bit. Your best bet is to use long tail keyword phrases because when they use them people usually are quite clear on what they are looking for. People are usually using these phrases in their searches which often means that they might generate the results you looking for because they want to take some action.

Try to avoid thinking that no one will read your profile because that isn’t true, and you should put a little thought into what you say on your profile – you know the thing about “first impressions.” Pictures tell a lot that words cannot, so be sure to use good photos that are positive. Avoid photos that are fuzzy, or distance shots of you – people want to see you up close. It’s up to you as to whether or not you hire a photographer to take some photos. You just need to ensure that they are decent enough. You know what appeals to people: trust, reliable, professional, etc.

Make sure to add a local phone number to your site. Make sure you’re mentioning your number in text because the search engines can’t read it then. To prove you are a real business, you need to have a real number on your site, meaning that you shouldn’t even think of 800 numbers.

The content of your site needs to be optimized and targeted towards the area you need to rank for. This will allow you to catch local users eyes while also attracting the search engines. Therefore, you need to write on issues that are related to the area you are targeting and are important to the people. You should write on subjects that are relevant to them in more than one way. If you think outside the box, it will make things easier because you want to establish a connection at a local level and you can only do this if your content is related to their interests.

Take care in all you do when promoting your business online because it will be the obscure aspects that you didn’t think about that often can make a difference. Whether you do these tasks yourself or outsource them, always keep a close eye on what’s going on with your site and business. You may know this, but we’ll mention it anyway – you can help with your exposure by getting involved in your local community in some way.

Generally speaking, local SEO has a bright future and will simply grow substantially. You need to make sure you are using it to its fullest potential today. Don’t get left behind! Get in touch with Triangle ranking experts if you have a local business in Raleigh.

Getting with the Google Snack Pack

Some of our posts are a whole lot newsier than others. Sometimes we come on and there just isn’t that much happening when we happen to be behind the keyboard. Then others, there’s all sorts of things happening. So what’s happening right now? If you haven’t seen the SERP pages recently, you’d better take a look! The Google snack pack One of the big recent developments in the search engine world is the Google “snack pack” – at least that’s what were calling it. For years, we have had paid ads at the top of the search results page, usually an entry or two from organic results, then local results – anything from 1 to 7 entries, and then another 9+ organic entries.  this is been the standard for several years. We’ve all gotten used to it and never expected this recent change. But indeed, the changes do come. From my point of view, I have to admit I like this results page better. First off, most of our companies were fairly high up in the local, so they did naturally appear in the new Google snack pack.  second, this results in fewer companies on the front page.  Again, because most of my companies were down the front page, and reasonably well placed, they are all still on the front page. This however knocks off a number of competitors in the big picture. That front page was turning into a mini directory there were so many entries on it. I’m personally glad to see somewhat fewer entries. One thing to remember though, is that Google is always tinkering. What were seeing this month may not be this way next month, and I certainly wouldn’t bank on this particular SERP page being what we see their next year at this time. For now though, I like this. Modifications to the search algorithms Going back to the Google always tinkering with things angle, I often see that Google continues to refine the algorithms on an ongoing basis. I will see gentle declines in rankings that usually seem to be related to keyword densities in general on page attributes. Even when were not actively working on back linking with a particular page or site, I will notice a small downwards movement across many sites. This usually can be rectified by reviewing keyword densities and dropping them down even further. What used to be commonplace as far as keyword densities for local sites a few years ago would likely get you deindexed these days. if not de-indexed, then lucky to be in the top 10 pages.  I often find that just going back and giving each site a good overall review on a regular basis is never a wasted effort. How can you make this work for you? Snack Pack Rankings If you have not been working on your citations, work them. Get out there and find good solid directories, particularly specialized directories like niche specific or even location specific directories in which to […]